A casino is a place where people can gamble by playing games of chance, or in some cases, games of skill. Some casinos are also resorts with restaurants, bars, clubs, pools and other entertainment. These places draw people to play, but often they are also places where people gather to celebrate a win or commiserate with a loss.

Every casino game has a built in mathematical advantage for the house, called the “house edge” or “vig.” This gives the casino a net profit, which it spends on elaborate hotels, theaters, fountains and pyramids and towers, or rakes (commissions) on poker games or slot machines.

When casinos first opened in Nevada in the 1950s, they sought out organized crime money to finance expansion and renovation. Mobster cash gave the casinos a veneer of legitimacy that was a selling point for tourists. But eventually, real estate developers and hotel chains had more money than the gangsters, and they bought out their casino ownership interests. Federal crackdowns and the threat of losing a gaming license at any hint of Mafia involvement help keep the mob out of casino ownership today.

Modern casinos use technology to ensure the honesty of their gambling operations. Elaborate systems allow security workers to watch every table, window and doorway through high-tech cameras that are adjustable to focus on suspicious patrons. Computers monitor roulette wheels, revealing any statistical deviations that would indicate cheating or tampering.